Bicycling is increasingly popular as a sport, a hobby and a method of personal transportation. Cycling provides good exercise and a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Unfortunately, as every cyclist knows, the activity comes with serious risks. Bicyclists must share the road with cars and trucks, and when drivers are careless around cyclists, the result can be a catastrophic accident.
According to statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were 1,304 traffic accidents involving bicycles reported in the state in 2016. This marked an increase over the number in 2015, but the numbers of bicycle accidents and fatalities have been relatively consistent over the past five years, even as fatalities in other types of motor vehicle accidents have been on a long-term decline nationwide.
Of Pennsylvania's 1,304 bicycle accidents in 2016, 16 were fatal. Children, ages 5-14 were the most vulnerable, and accounted for about 20 percent of the reported injuries. However, there were many older cyclists injured as well. Five of the cyclists killed in 2016 were between the ages of 45 and 54.
Most bicycle accidents occurred at intersections, but most fatal injuries occurred at non-intersection parts of the road, where vehicles tend to be traveling at higher speeds.
Because bicyclists are exposed to the elements, any type of collision with a car or truck is likely to lead to injury for the cyclist, if not the motor vehicle driver. These injuries can lead to expensive medical bills, lost wages and other damages. In cases involving severe injury, the victim may be rendered permanently disabled and unable to earn a living.
Under Pennsylvania law, car and truck drivers have a duty to watch out for bicyclists on the road. When they carelessly hit a cyclist, they breach that duty. Those who were injured due to a driver's negligence may be able to recover compensation for their damages through a personal injury lawsuit.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, "2016 Pennsylvania Crash Facts & Statistics," accessed July 13, 2017